IBM Research

  www.research.ibm.com
  www.research.ibm.com
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IBM Research Reviews

Updated September 9, 2014
Updated September 9, 2014
360 Reviews
3.7
360 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
IBM Research CEO Virginia Rommety
Virginia Rommety
55 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Breadth of technologies; really smart people; excellent work-life balance (in 38 reviews)

  • They allow for a lot of work from home opportunities and benefits are great (in 18 reviews)


Cons
  • A lot of the senior management believes it has the "vision" necessary to micro-manage the work of research staff (in 8 reviews)

  • Lots of uncertainty regarding job security and very hard career growth (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    good environment should be encourage

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Scientist  in  West Delhi, NY
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in West Delhi, NY

    I have been working at IBM Research full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    good environment in the company

    Cons

    bad location where the company located

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    increase salaries of all employees working under

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    As student is ok

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at IBM Research

    Pros

    New technology, cutting edge, brand new tools

    Cons

    People, lack of communication, offices

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communication, coordination, cooperation

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Many excellent researchers in one place.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher  in  Yorktown Heights, NY
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Yorktown Heights, NY

    I have been working at IBM Research full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Resources both physical, monetary, and intellectual

    Cons

    Valuing the share price of employee satisfaction

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    IBM Research is great but the rest of the company is dragging it down

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Scientist  in  Yorktown Heights, NY
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Yorktown Heights, NY

    I have been working at IBM Research full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    If you are a Ph.D. and want to work in the industry but still be in touch with the academic work, IBM Research is one of the few places that can provide that opportunity. As a research staff member (typically only Ph.D.s are hired), you will be measured based on three things: 1. your project work and how much it contributed to the company in terms of cost savings, revenue impact, or other qualitative impact, or technological advances if you are lucky enough to be working on such things 2. patents you file, 3. papers you publish. Since IBM is a global company, the projects can come from many different industries and many different locations in the world. The Research division enjoys high respect within the company but much more so outside the company.

    Cons

    IBM's obsession with pleasing the Wall Street brings about a short sighted view to its research policy and hence impacts its Research negatively. All parts of IBM unfortunately scramble to meet short term financial objectives and Research is very often called for help, which takes researchers away from their primary roles of inventing and innovating game changing technologies and methods. By definition, research means investing time and money in high risk high reward problems. For instance, Watson was developed over quite a few years with dozens of people involved. That is what it takes to create serious technologies. Watson team had the few lucky researchers. Unfortunately, many researchers find themselves in a situation where they are asked to help the other parts of IBM improve their bottom line. Since other parts of IBM provide research its funding, they have a lot of influence on defining research projects and therefore how researchers spend their time. Since they are hard pressed to meet their financial objectives, they tend to define projects that help their short term financial goals. Such projects are almost always less innovative and tend to have marginal value for the company. IBM researchers are very capable people. IBM hires the very best to its Research. However, under so much pressure to help IBM's bottom line and do it fast, it is hard for researchers to come up with earth shaking innovations, though they would be perfectly capable to do so if they were given some breathing room. There are still quite a few researchers who still get to work on really promising things but their numbers are quite small.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go back to the basic definition of "research". Go after high risk high reward ideas, invest your precious research resources to those and be patient. Protect your researchers from short term ups and downs of IBM's business. Research is not about that. Here is a simple analogy if you don't really understand this. Imagine parents that are struggling to make the ends meet. They have a child who is brilliant and doing extremely well at school. He/she has a bright future but needs support. What do the right parents do? They sacrifice everything to make sure that child gets a chance to use his/her potential. If supported well, such a child can not only save himself/herself but the entire family and plus more. IBM has over 400,000 employees worldwide. IBM Research has only around 3000 people. IBM can certainly effort to provide some level of protection to its researchers if it wants to get good things out of them. If a researcher has to worry about budget cuts, limited resources, and having to help this division versus that, when will they have the peace of mind to do serious research that can change the future of IBM. IBM has to trust its Research again and make the environment conducive for its researchers.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Research Staff Member

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at IBM Research full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Quite many legendary figures are still here. There are many aspects of business technology one can work on. Flexible hours, individual offices. New Watson technology is exciting for AI scholars.

    Cons

    IBM business is struggling, losing business in its traditional domains. Some drastic changes in business model are pending.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep smaller research staff, let go less productive people, treat the remaining team well, focus on longer term goal.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Research @ IBM T.J. Watson

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member  in  Yorktown Heights, NY
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member in Yorktown Heights, NY

    I have been working at IBM Research full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Smart colleagues, wide range of research projects to work on, can have impact on research and IBM products.

    Cons

    Pretty happy here, no real cons that I can think off at the present time.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Work with elite scientists and engineers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member  in  Yorktown, NY
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member in Yorktown, NY

    I have been working at IBM Research full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    There is an academic environment with seminars and learning opportunities. Many top-notch colleagues who have shaped the computer industry over the years. Can have freedom to work on long-term projects with some (but not total) disconnect from the quarter-by-quarter business struggle.

    Cons

    Sometimes feel disconnected from the rest of the company. Input not always valued by others outside Research. IBM is struggling in a changing industry and money is tight.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Help talented people develop more technical skills to contribute outside their current area. Much potential is untapped.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    A once great industry research lab spiraling down the drain.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher

    I have been working at IBM Research full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    One of the few industry research labs where you can keep one foot in the academic world. Flexible work environment and schedule.

    Cons

    IBM Corporate has no clue how to truly get long term value from research. As others have posted, research is high-risk high-reward, but in the past years IBM is only concerned with quarterly bottom lines. IBM Researchers are constantly bombarded with inappropriate projects just to help immediate revenue. Over the years IBM Research has seen a lot of turn over as many researchers leave for academic or industry positions due to the degradation of the value of true research. As such, management at IBM Research is slowly being filled with more 'corporate' minded employees. IBM Corporate simultaneously wants to tap IBM Research for immediate boosts to revenue and also expects game-changing products. They fail to see that the former will impact the latter, and as others have posted, do not understand that Research needs to be insulated to make long term dramatic impact.

    Morale at IBM Research is at a near all time low. IBM Research does not value their researchers and the message you infer is that you should simply be grateful for the opportunity to work at IBM research. Compensation, benefits, and perks are constantly being reduced and eroded. The building itself is abysmal. Bleak, no windows in offices, dirty, musty, ancient office equipment (unless you are IBM Corporate, they have all the nice offices and meeting rooms). For a tech company that is attracting top researchers and tech people it is truly sad that one has to beg and plead for the most basic needs (monitor for laptop, mouse, stapler, ...).

    The current problems at IBM Research mostly impact the new Research Staff members and Postdoctoral Researchers. Old employees have learned to insulate themselves better from IBM Corporate, but new employees are at their mercy. From experience I know researchers at IBM used to have 25%-50% of their time free for their own research. Going in to my job I expected this, but this delusion was quickly shattered. New researchers are expected to work on IBM dictated projects or research directions. I was made to feel guilty for working on personal research (which was still oriented along our general research lines). Again, the impression you get is they can always higher new top talent because of their reputation. So, accept it or leave. But the prestige of working at IBM Research is falling rapidly.

    For those looking for a dynamic and agile work place, IBM Research is just the opposite. Mostly this is simply due to the sheer size of IBM. But the remaining fault lies with the culture at IBM. It is slow and stale, and the often infuriating part is many IBMers think the opposite.
    Compounding this, IBM Research (and IBM Corporate) as a demographic is older. Not that this is a problem, but one should be aware if they are young, energetic, and bright-eyed, this is not the place for you. Lastly, the software, tools, and support one is forced to use at IBM (looking at you Lotus Notes) is atrocious and often wastes an inordinate amount of time to do things that should be simple and straightforward.

    IBM Research is on the decline. They are coasting on their (deserved) reputation as a leading industry research lab. Those days are gone. Morale is low, people are leaving, the wrong people are staying, and sadly management actually does know about the problem yet seems unwilling or incapable of fixing the it. IBM Research is moving to a place where they do not value their employees yet expect them to be grateful to simply work for IBM. Pockets of true old-school IBM Research groups still exist, mainly in the math group, but those are being squeezed out. That is why you still see (and rightly so) positive reviews of IBM Research. But as a whole, IBM Research is spiraling down the drain. Sadly, I believe in 10-15 years it will be a shell of what it used to be. They are losing their real talent and what made them special, and can only ride on their reputation for so long. Most likely the remaining talent will be divided into the profitable non-research divisions and it will be no more.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Research is a high-risk high-reward venture. Insulate IBM Research and let them do great things, as they have done before.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    IBM Research is great, but IBM corporate is not what it used to be

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Staff Member  in  Yorktown Heights, NY
    Former Employee - Research Staff Member in Yorktown Heights, NY

    I worked at IBM Research full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Peers at IBM Research are technically able and treat you with respect. Low-level managers are often very good.

    Cons

    Corporate management too slow in responding to technical change and unable to lead company for organic growth and are choking profits out of the company instead of feeding the right areas for growth. Corporate mgmt and HR office put short term profits and goals ahead of respect for employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take your eyes of where the customer IS and look at where the customer is GOING. Stop bleeding the company for short term profits.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    One of the best labs for industrial research

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member  in  Yorktown Heights, NY
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member in Yorktown Heights, NY

    I have been working at IBM Research full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Good colleagues, flexible work-life scheduling, ability to work at the interface of applied research and product development.

    Cons

    No major cons really, although environment is not as fast paced as at smaller companies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Rigid organization structure is sometimes an impediment to fostering cross-department initiatives.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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